September 7, 2013
The Coming Extinction of the White Quarterback

Fifteen years ago, Steve Young was the blackest quarterback anyone had ever seen. Much like Jackie Robinson, Steve Young opened doors for black athletes. Before Steve Young, most fast black football players were pushed to the speed positions (wr, cb, rb, etc). It was thought that speed and athleticism had no place under center. Right about now, you’re probably thinking, “What about Doug Williams, Warren Moon, or Randall Cunningham?”

Well, as you should know, Doug Williams, who, because he was black, was the lowest paid qb in football and got ran off to the USFL, but came back to win a Super Bowl. Moon had to spend the first six years of his career playing in Canada, simply because he was black. When Moon finally got his chance, he played quite well. However, neither really had the extraordinary athletic ability that represents the modern black athlete. Randall Cunningham should be considered one of the best quarterbacks of his era. In his prime, unfortunately, he was considered strictly a running quarterback due to not having quality wrs, Keith Byars’ lack of lateral movement, and a head coach, Buddy Ryan, who refused to understand the importance of developing an offense (see the N.Y. Jets current state to see another example of genetics). When Cunningham got a real shot outside of Philadelphia at the age of 35, his offense set a NFL record for points scored in a season. This should have been enough to make all NFL scouts realize that the future of the quarterback was in the black athlete. But one season wasn’t enough. It took Steve Young.

After an aging Joe Montana got injured, Steve Young took over for the 49ers. A competent Montana was eventually traded. Know why? So San Francisco could unleash the most lethal weapon ever to play quarterback. And do you know what Young did with his opportunity? He changed the game with his athleticism, combined with the ability to throw the football (no need for me to say more on this). Thanks to Steve Young, extreme athleticism was in vogue for the quarterback position. And while Steve Young was changing the game, he was being watched on television by a young black kid in a rough neighborhood in Virginia. A kid named Michael Vick.

Like Steve Young, left-handed, with a laser arm, shifty feet, and blazing speed, Vick showed the NCAA, Florida State, and NFL scouts something the world never imagined: an African American Steve Young. What exactly does “African American” mean beyond a racial category? In this case, it means much, much more athletic. Because if you have ever watched or played sports, you know that African Americans are superior athletes compared to all other ethnicities. I’m only talking facts. You will never see a white person play or move fluidly like a Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, Ricky Henderson, Deion Sanders, Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, O.J. Simpson, Randy Moss, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, et cetera. Why is this?

The answer is found in the spiral, not a football spiral, but a double spiral—the double helix. Watson and Crick’s double helix is where the answers lie—genetics. Just like any thing that is born to be fast, strong, and smart, so is the black athlete. These facts aren’t limited to the football, baseball, or basketball. It should be no surprise that Gabby Douglass won gold at the Olympics in gymnastics, given her genetic makeup. A statistician will tell you the odds are astronomical for a black girl to win the gold in a sport dominated by rich, little white girls with names like Mary Lou. But with the proper training, nobody stood a chance against Gabby because she had African genes. If black athletes were more proportionally represented in “rich sports,” e.g., swimming, guys like Michael Phelps would have M.B.A.s, instead of gold medals and endorsement contracts. Imagine a Randy Moss or Ray Allen gliding in a pool at age 25. Let’s stay away from socioeconomics and get back to quarterbacks.

Vick, who wasted his prime years not practicing his craft, relied on physical ability alone, which is not enough to be the best quarterback in the world. But because of Steve Young and the out-of-this-world athleticism Vick put on display, NFL coaches realized that the future of the quarterback position is found in the black athlete, hence Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton.

With Griffin and Newton, we see the future. That’s what a championship quarterback will look like in 2016: fast, smart, strong, charismatic… and black. Over the next four years, Brady, 2 Mannings, Brees, Ben and Rodgers** will be out or limping out of the league, and then quarterback position will officially evolve to a black position, much like the shooting guard in the NBA. Dan Majerle, Jeff Hornacek and the like are extinct, and eventually the white quarterback will be as well.

*There will be white anomalies at the qb position like Ben, Rodgers, and Luck, who play like non-white guys.

(and PLEASE don’t say, “What about McNabb?”—he was lacking many important qualities, says Mike Shanahan. McNair was decent, but nowhere near Young or Vick.)

Also, I wrote this on a whim back in August in 2012 when I had some time on my hands, and before Kaepernick and Wilson took over their teams. Now it is 2013, Sunday’s starters include: Griffin III, Newton, Wilson, Kaepernick, Geno, Pryor, Manual, Freeman, and Vick, with Teddy Bridgewater on deck.

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